A fancy bra and cowboy boots

Faced with a formal affair, I wondered what attire might be appropriate.

I found myself in a bit of a pickle recently. I had to attend a wedding. A formal wedding! Dressing up meant I had to make nice with things like shoes and lingerie, neither of which I’ve ever gotten along with.

“I only have one dress,” I said to my sweetie pie.

“So wear that one.”

“Then I’ll have to wear heels!”

Shoes have been the bane of my existence all my life. I was born with a crooked left foot, and a while back I suffered a severely broken leg, one that required extensive surgery. It took eight months for me to learn to walk properly again, so you can imagine the idea of donning heels had me apprehensive.

“Just wear your cowboy boots.”

“We’re not going line dancing. And the bride has been pretty specific that this is a formal affair.” In fact the young woman in question—who I’d never met—actually sent invitations suggesting a proper color palette for guests’ attire, and my purple dress was not one of the requested shades. I sensed that the combination of that dress and my boots might make the bride swoon.

I fretted over the upcoming affair, wondering if I might get away with wearing nice pants. I checked into whether slacks would be a serious fashion faux pax, and to my surprise I discovered that it is permissible for women to wear pants to a formal wedding, which meant my pretty, black tooled cowboy boots would work, as well. (I live in Arizona. Things are a bit different here, so trust me on this.)

I pulled together a black jacket, nice pants, and a sheer black shirt, but then frowned. Clearly, I needed appropriate undergarments. But when I searched my drawers, I discovered that my daughter had appropriated my one dressy bra. Okay. My only bra. Since I’m a child of the 70s, I’d tossed that torturous device when I was 16. It wasn’t until I was 51 and a teacher that anyone seemed to notice.

“You can’t do that in front of your students,” a fellow teacher said.

“Do what?” I was perplexed.

“You have to wear a bra?”

“Why?” I looked down. Several layers of fabric separated my bits from the world. “I’m old enough to be their grandmother. They won’t even notice.”

But I was wrong. I caught numerous boys checking me out, so I started wearing sports bras, which still bugged me, but which were not as uncomfortable as a regular brassiere. But a sports bra wouldn’t cut it for a formal wedding, not even in Arizona.

So I traipsed off to a lingerie store in a swanky mall. Since I’m not a fancy type, I appeared in that realm of delicates in a black sweatshirt bearing a cowboy and running horses, black leggings, and sneakers. Two white-haired women stared at me.

“I need a bra.”

One focused on my chest. “What size?

“Um…I don’t know.”

They appraised me as if I was something they’d discovered in a petri dish. And yet, after whipping out a tape measure and assessing me from multiple angles, one woman walked me to a dressing room and handed me a single bra.

Now, I’ve been in dressing rooms strewn with bras left behind by frustrated shoppers. Finding the proper fit can be a grueling affair, still I put it on without question.

A short time later the woman reappeared at the door as I faced myself in the mirror. “Turn around.”

I did.

Raise your hands in the air.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Bend over.”

I was perplexed, but did as she ordered.

“It’s perfect.”

And she was right! I wondered if she’d been bestowed with a master’s degree in bra-fitting, but didn’t ask. “It doesn’t hurt!” I smiled, and she pointed out the structural supports and special fabric with such intensity that I imagined NASA engineers must have designed the thing.

I was so delighted, I bought two.

As for the wedding, all went well.

And nobody said a thing about my boots.

Find Anne Montgomery’s novels wherever you buy books.



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